What does Revelation, The mean in the Bible?


Holman Bible Dictionary - Revelation, the Book of
The last book of the Bible, an apocalyptic work pointing to future hope and calling for present faithfulness. Revelation is a work of intensity, forged in the flames of the author's personal tribulation. It employs the language of biblical allusion and apocalyptic symbolism to express the heights and depths of the author's visionary experience.
To encourage Christian faithfulness, the Revelation points to the glorious world to come (a world of “no more death or mourning or crying or pain,” Revelation 21:4 NIV; compare Revelation 7:16 ) at the reappearing of the crucified and risen Jesus. This now enthroned Lord will return to conclude world history (and the tribulations of the readers) with the destruction of God's enemies, the final salvation of His own people, and the creation of a new heaven and a new earth. The intensity of the prophet's experience is matched only by the richness of the apocalyptic symbolism he employed to warn his readers of the impending disasters and temptations which would require their steadfast allegiance to the risen Lord. To be sure, the Lord will come in power and majesty, but not before His enemies have exercised a terrible (albeit limited by the divine mercy) attack upon those who “hold to the testimony of Jesus.”
Author According to early Christian traditions, the Gospel of John, the three Epistles of John, and the Revelation were all written by the apostle John. The Revelation is the only one of these books that claims to be written by someone named John. Though the author does not claim to be the apostle John, it seems unlikely that any other first-century Christian leader was associated closely enough with the churches of Asia Minor to have referred to himself simply as John. There are certainly some differences in style and language between the fourth Gospel and the Revelation, but, regardless of the problems related to the authorship of the fourth Gospel, it is not implausible to assume that the John of the Revelation was in fact John the apostle, son of Zebedee. See John .
Setting The author's situation was one of suffering. He was a “fellow partaker in the tribulation” which is “in Jesus,” who, because of his testimony to Jesus, was exiled to the island of Patmos (Revelation 1:9 NAS). The situation of the recipients seemed not yet so dire. To be sure, a faithful Christian in Pergamum had suffered death ( Revelation 2:13 ), and the church in Smyrna was warned of a time of impending persecution (Revelation 2:10 ); but the persecutions described in the Revelation were still largely anticipated at the time of John's writing.
Date Scholars have traditionally suggested two dates for the writing of the Revelation based upon the repeated references to persecution (Revelation 1:9 ; Revelation 2:2-3 ,Revelation 2:2-3,2:10 ,Revelation 2:10,2:13 ; Revelation 3:9-10 ; Revelation 6:10-11 ; Revelation 7:14-17 ; Revelation 11:7 ; Revelation 12:13-13:17 ; Revelation 14:12-20 ; Revelation 11:1-2 ; Revelation 21:4 ). From about A.D. 150, Christian authors usually referred to Domitian's reign (A.D. 81-96) as the time of John's writing, but there is no historical consensus supporting a persecution of Christians under Domitian while hard evidence does exist for a persecution under Nero (A.D. 54-68). In this century, most New Testament scholars have opted for the later date under Domitian (about A.D. 95), though there has been a resurgence of opinion (including this author's) arguing for a setting just following the reign of Nero (about A.D. 68). Whichever date is chosen, however, the setting must be closely related to a time of persecution for the author and an anticipated expansion of persecution for the original audience.
Type of Literature The Revelation has traditionally been called an apocalypse. Although the genre itself was not literally acknowledged in the first century, what we now call “apocalyptic literature” certainly existed. In any case, John called his work a “prophecy” (Revelation 1:9-20 ; Ezekiel 2:1-37 ,Revelation 22:10,22:19 ), but also gave it some features of an epistle (Revelation 1:4-7 ; Revelation 22:21 ).
I. Introduction (Revelation 1:1-8 )
II. John's Vision on the Island of Patmos (Revelation 1:9-20 )
III. Letters to the Seven Churches (Revelation 2:1-3:22 )
IV. The Sovereignty of the Creator God Committed to the Crucified and Now Enthroned Lamb (Revelation 4:1-5:14 )
V. The Enthroned Lamb's Judgments Via the Seven Seals (Revelation 6:1-8:5 )
VI. The Enthroned Lamb's Judgments Via the Seven Trumpets (Revelation 8:6-11:19 )
VII. The Dragon's Persecution of the Righteous (Revelation 12:1-13:18 )
VIII. A Summary of Triumph, Warning, and Judgment (Revelation 14:1-20 )
IX. The Enthroned Lamb's Judgments Via the Seven Cups (Revelation 15:1-16:21 )
X. The Fall and Ruin of the Immoral City of the Beast (Revelation 17:1-18:24 )
XI. The Rejoicing of Heaven and the Revelation of the Lamb, Bringing Judgment and the Advent of the Bride, the Holy City (Revelation 19:1-22:5 )
XII. Conclusion (Revelation 22:6-21 )
Introduction (1:1-8) Written to “the seven churches” of the Roman province of Asia, John's work is a “revelation” of “the things which must shortly take place.” The theme of John's work is clear: the Lord God Himself has guaranteed the final vindication of the crucified Jesus before all the earth (Revelation 1:7-8 ).
John's Vision on the Island of Patmos (1:9-20) While in exile on Patmos, John saw the risen Lord (Revelation 1:3 ). Appearing in the dress of power and majesty (Revelation 1:9-20 ), the Living One revealed Himself as Lord of the churches, to whom He instructed John to send not only the seven letters, but also an account of the things which he both had seen and would see, that is, a revelation of “the things which shall be hereafter” (Revelation 1:19 ).
Letters to the Seven Churches (2:1–3:22) The letters to the churches of Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia, and Laodicea have a fairly consistent format. First, after designating the recipients, the risen Lord as Sender describes Himself using a portion of the visionary description of Him in Revelation 1:9-20 . There follows an “I know” section of either commendation or criticism. Next appears typically some form of exhortation: to those who received criticism, the usual exhortation is to repent; however, to the churches of Smyrna and Philadelphia, for whom the Lord had only praise, the exhortation is one of assurance (compare Revelation 2:10 ; Revelation 3:10-13 ). Each letter concludes, though the order may vary, with both an exhortation to “hear what the Spirit says to the churches” (NAS) and a promise of reward to the “overcomer,” that is, the one who conquers by persevering in the cause of Christ.
The church at Ephesus (Revelation 2:1-7 ) is told to return to her first love; the church at Smyrna (Revelation 2:8-11 ), to be faithful unto death; the churches of Pergamum (Revelation 2:12-17 ) and Thyatira (Revelation 2:18-29 ) must beware of false teaching and the immoral deeds that so often accompany erroneous theology. The church at Sardis (Revelation 3:1-6 ) is told to wake up and complete her works of obedience. The church at Philadelphia (Revelation 3:7-13 ) is promised, in the face of persecution by the local synagogue, that faith in Jesus will assure access into the eternal kingdom; and the church at Laodicea (Revelation 3:14-22 ) is told to turn from her self-deception and repent of her lukewarmness.
The Sovereignty of the Creator God Committed to the Crucified and Now Enthroned Lamb (4:1–5:14) Revelation 11:11-12 and Revelation 5:1 represent the pivot point of the book, tying the risen Lord's opening exhortations to the churches ( Revelation 2-3 ) to the judgments and final triumph of the Lamb (Revelation 6-22 ). These chapters also provide the historical and theological basis of the risen Lord's authority over both the church and the world by depicting His enthronement and empowering to carry out the judging and saving purposes of God. Revelation 4:1 asserts the sovereign authority of the Creator God. Revelation 5:1 depicts the delegation of the divine authority to the risen Lord by introducing a sequence of events reminiscent of Daniel 7:1 . In Daniel 7:1 , the people of God were oppressed by four terrible beasts, symbolic of evil empires and kings; similarly, the Revelation is written to people who either are, or soon will be, experiencing persecution from powers of evil. Similar to Daniel 7:1 , in Revelation 5:1 , we see both a book of judgment—and a glorious, redemptive agent of God. Instead of an unidentified human figure, we learn that the exalted agent of God is none other than the crucified Jesus, the Lamb and Lion of God, now enthroned and therefore worthy to take the book and break the seals.
The events portrayed here are highly symbolic, but are not a historical myth. The scene readily suggests an otherwise well-known and important historical and theological moment within biblical history, namely, the ascension of Jesus. His redemptive death, that is, His obedience to the will of God (see also Philippians 2:8-9 ; Hebrews 2:9-10 ; Hebrews 5:8-9 ; Hebrews 10:9-10 ), qualified Him for the role of Lord. He has “overcome” (Revelation 5:5 ), a word which for John refers to Jesus' triumphal suffering and subsequent enthronement (see Revelation 3:21 ), and may therefore now as the heavenly Lord assume the role of divine agent.
The Enthroned Lamb's Judgments Via the Seven Seals (6:1–8:5) The breaking of the first four seals brings forth four differently colored horsemen (Revelation 6:1-8 ). These riders, paralleling the chaos predicted in Mark 13:1 , represent God's judgments through the upheavals of war and its devastating social consequences (violence, famine, pestilence, and death). The fifth seal (Mark 6:9-11 ) is the plea of martyred saints for divine justice upon their oppressors. For now, they must wait.
A careful look at the sixth seal is important for understanding the literary structure and episodic sequence of the Revelation. When broken, it brings forth the typical signs of the end: a great earthquake, the blackening of the sun, the ensanguining of the moon, and the falling of the stars of heaven (compare Matthew 24:29 ). Though the Revelation is but a few chapters old, we are brought to the end of world history. The mighty as well as the lowly of the earth realize that the great day of God's (and the Lamb's) wrath has come, and nothing can save them (Revelation 6:14-17 ). The description of the judgments initiated by the first six seals would no doubt tend to overwhelm John's audience, so he interrupted the sequence leading to the seventh seal to remind us that the people of God need not despair, for, as the “bond-servants of God” (Revelation 7:3 NAS), they have the promise of heaven.
Revelation 7:1 is actually two visions ( Revelation 7:1-8 ,Revelation 7:1-8,7:9-17 ), with the second both interpreting and concluding the first. The sealing of the 144,000 (Revelation 7:1-8 ) employs Jewish symbols to describe those who know God through Jesus Christ. Clearly, John is referring to Christians as the 144,000 for Revelation 22:1-533 refers to the “bond-servants” of God, a term consistently used throughout the Revelation ( Revelation 1:1 ; Revelation 2:20 ; Revelation 10:7 ; Revelation 11:18 ; Revelation 19:2 ,Revelation 19:2,19:5 ; Revelation 22:3 ,Revelation 22:3,22:6 ) to refer either to Christians in general or the Christian prophet, but never to the non-Christian Jew (or Gentile). Language employed in the Old Testament to refer to the Jews is characteristically used in the New Testament to refer to those who know God through Jesus Christ (see 2 Corinthians 6:16-18 ; Galatians 3:29 ; 1 Peter 2:9-10 ; and Revelation 11:1-13 ). The number 144,000 is an intensification (12 12 10 10 10) of the original number twelve (itself an obvious allusion to the twelve tribes, the Old Testament people of God), which indicates that the 144,000 comprise the full number of God's people, God's people now being all (Jew or Gentile) who are followers of Jesus.
In the second vision (Revelation 7:9-17 ), the 144,000 have become “a great multitude, which no one could count” (NAS). Who are they? Using his favorite descriptions of heaven (see Revelation 21:3-4 ,Revelation 21:3-4,21:23 ; 1618481847_9 ), John tells us that they are those who have “come out of the great tribulation” (NAS), now to experience the joys of heaven and relief from the tribulations they have endured (compare Revelation 7:14-17 with Revelation 21:1-6 ; Revelation 22:1-5 ). To “come out of the great tribulation” (Revelation 7:14 ) does not mean that they have exited the earth before the hour of tribulation. To the contrary, they have indeed experienced the tribulations of this evil age, but now in heaven they enjoy the presence of God (Revelation 7:15 ; Revelation 21:3 ). As the true Israel of God, Christians (“the bond-servants of our God,” Revelation 7:3 , NAS) have the seal of God. Refusing the mark of the beast (Revelation 13:16-17 ; Revelation 14:11 ), they hold to the testimony of Jesus (Revelation 14:12 ) in spite of persecution (Revelation 10:1-87 ; Revelation 13:7 ) and therefore have the promise of final deliverance in heaven from this evil age of great tribulation (Revelation 7:14 ).
Revelation 8:1-5 gives us the seventh seal and again the traditional signs of the very end of human history and the coming of the Lord, but the prophet is not yet ready to describe the Lord's return. He still has too much to say about the nature of judgment, the mission of the church, and the persecutions of the beast to bring his prophecy to an end. Therefore, before describing fully the end, John must start over. Now, using the symbolic vehicle of the seven trumpets, he declared that the judgments of God also have a redemptive purpose.
The Enthroned Lamb's Judgments Via the Seven Trumpets (8:6–11:19) The first four trumpets describe partial judgments (“one-third”) upon the earth's vegetation, the oceans, fresh waters, and the heavenly lights (Revelation 8:6-13 ). The last three trumpets are grouped together and also described as three “woes” upon the earth, emphasizing God's judgment upon mankind. All these judgments have no redemptive effect, for the “rest of mankind” who are not killed by these plagues do not repent of their immoralities (Revelation 9:20-21 NAS).
Just as the interlude between the sixth and seventh seals reminded us that the people of God are safe from the eternally destructive effects of God's wrath, so also between the sixth and seventh trumpets we are reminded of God's protective hand on His people (Revelation 10:1-11:14 ). In the trumpet interlude we also learn that God's protection during these days of tribulation does not mean isolation, for the people of God must bear a prophetic witness to the world.
In 1618481847_87 , John's call (after the pattern of 1618481847_55:11 ) is reaffirmed. The note of protection and witness is again struck in Revelation 1:6 where the measuring of the temple of God ( Revelation 19:2 ) alludes to God's protective hand upon His people during the hour of turmoil (Revelation 11:2 ). Persecutions will last for “forty-two months,” but His people cannot be destroyed, for the “two witnesses” (Revelation 11:3-13 ) must bear witness to the mercy and judgment of God. The “two witnesses” (“two” suggests a confirmed, legal testimony) are also called “two lampstands” (Revelation 11:4 ), terminology already interpreted in Revelation 1:20 to mean the church. Though engaged in great spiritual warfare, the church, like Moses and Elijah of old, must maintain a faithfully prophetic witness to the world, a witness even unto death. Though the earth rejoices that the testimony of the church is in the end apparently snuffed out, the temporary triumph of evil (“three-and-a-half days,” Revelation 11:9 ,Revelation 11:9,11:11 ) will turn to heavenly vindication as the two witnesses (the people of God) are raised from the dead (Revelation 4:1 ).
With the seventh trumpet (and third woe) the end of history has come, the time “for the dead to be judged” and the saints to be rewarded (Revelation 11:18 NAS). The coming of the reign of God (and Christ), as well as the day of judgment, are past events ( Revelation 11:17-18 ). John is not yet ready to describe the actual coming of the King of kings and Lord of lords. Sadly, he has more to relate regarding “the beast that comes up out of the abyss” to “make war” with the people of God (Revelation 11:7 , NAS). It is that “42 months,” the period of persecution (and protection/witness), that John now unfolds.
The Dragon's Persecution of the Righteous (12:1–13:18) Revelation 12:1 is crucial for understanding John's view of the sequence of history. The number “three-and-a-half” was associated by Christians and Jews with times of evil and judgment. John variously referred to the three-and-a-half years as either “forty-two months,” or “1,260 days,” or “a time, times, and half a time.” For John, it was the period of time when the powers of evil will do their works. During this time, God will protect His people ( Revelation 12:6 ,Revelation 12:6,12:14 ) while they both bear witness to their faith (Revelation 11:3 ) and simultaneously suffer at the hands of these evil powers (Revelation 11:2 ,Revelation 11:2,11:7 ; Revelation 12:13-17 ; Revelation 13:5-7 ). Commentators agree that this terrible period of tribulation will be brought to an end with the coming of the Lord. The critical question, however, is when the three-and-a-half year period of persecution and witness begins. Though some scholars have relegated the “three-and-a-half years” to some as-yet-unbegun moment in the future, Revelation 12:1 unmistakably pinpoints its beginning with the ascension and enthronement of Christ ( Revelation 12:5 ). When the woman's (Israel's) offspring is “caught up to God and to His throne” (Revelation 12:5 , NAS, author's italics), there is war in heaven, and the dragon is cast down to the earth.
Heaven rejoices because it has been rescued from Satan, but the earth must now mourn, because the devil has been cast down to earth, and his anger is great. He knows that he has been defeated by the enthronement of Christ and that he has but a short time (Revelation 12:12 ). The woman, who (as Israel) brought forth the Christ (Revelation 12:1-2 ) and also “other offspring,” those who “hold to the testimony of Jesus,” now received the brunt of the frustrated dragon's wrath (Revelation 12:17 ). As the enraged dragon now seeks to vent his wrath upon the woman, she is nonetheless nourished and protected for “1,260 days” (Revelation 12:6 ), for a “time, times, and half a time” (Revelation 12:14 ).
The dragon then brings forth two henchmen (Revelation 13:1 ) to help him in his pursuit of those who believe in Jesus. Satan is thus embodied in a political ruler, the beast from the sea (Revelation 13:1 ), who will speak blasphemies for “forty-two months” (Revelation 13:5 ). He will “make war with the saints” (Revelation 13:7 NAS), while the second beast (or false prophet, Revelation 19:20 ), who comes up from the earth (Revelation 13:11 ), seeks to deceive the earth so that its inhabitants worship the first beast.
Thus, in Revelation 12:1 and Revelation 13:1 , each of the various ways of referring to the three-and-a-half years is a reference to a single period of time that began with the enthronement of Christ and will conclude with His return. The time period is not a literal three-and-a-half years, but the entire time between the ascension and return of Christ which will be permitted the dragon to execute his evil work upon the earth (compare Galatians 1:4 ; Ephesians 2:2 ). Almost two thousand years have elapsed since our Lord ascended to the right hand of God, but the “three-and-a-half years” still continues. Satan still rages; but his time is short, and his evil will cease at the return of Christ.
A Summary of Triumph, Warning, and Judgment (14:1-20) After the depressing news of the ongoing persecutions of the unholy trinity, John's readers need another word of encouragement and warning. Revelation 14:1 therefore employs seven “voices” to relate again the hopes and warnings of heaven. First is another vision of the 144,000, the full number of the people of God ( Revelation 14:4 ). Faithful in their worship of the one true God through Jesus Christ and not seduced by the satanic deceptions of the first beast and his ally, the false prophet, they will be rescued and taken to heaven's throne (Revelation 14:1-5 ).
An angel announces the eternal gospel and warns the earth of coming judgment (Revelation 14:6-7 ). The remaining “voices” (or oracles) follow in rapid succession. The fall of “Babylon the Great,” an Old Testament symbol for a nation opposed to the people of God, is announced (Revelation 14:8 ). The people of God are warned not to follow the beast or else those who follow him suffer separation from God (Revelation 14:9-12 ). Finally, two voices call for harvest (Revelation, the Book of
Morrish Bible Dictionary - Revelation, the
This may be said to suitably follow the Catholic Epistles. In them the last times are in view, and evil is pointed out in connection with the church: then follows this prophecy, the first part of which concerns the church viewed as a lightbearer on earth: rejection awaits it as judgement awaits the world. The Revelation was given to Jesus Christ by God as sovereign ruler. It was signified to John, and he wrote what he saw and heard. It is not known when the book was written, nor by what emperor John was banished to the Isle of Patmos. Some judge that it was Claudius (A.D. 41-54), others Nero (A.D. 54-68), and others Domitian (A.D. 81-96): it is more generally attributed to the last named, and if so, the date of the book would be after the destruction of Jerusalem in A.D. 70.
There are fewer ancient manuscripts of the Revelation than of any other part of the N.T., and some of those now known were not discovered till after the date of the A.V.; this makes the 'various readings' now introduced very numerous, some of them being important.
The book evidently divides itself into three parts: see Revelation 1:19 .
1. "Things which thou hast seen " — found in Revelation 1 .
2. "Things that are " — namely, the seven specified churches as then existing in Asia, Revelation 2 , Revelation 3 .
3. "Things which shall be after these " — contained in Revelation 4 to the end. It is evident that "after these" refers to the removal of the entire church from earth, and not simply to the disappearance of the seven particular churches named. The whole of the Revelation was addressed to the seven churches (as representing the whole church), though each assembly had also a short address especially to itself.
Revelation 1 . After the introduction, Christ is seen in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks, which represent the seven churches as lightbearers. He was like unto the Son of man, clothed, not for service, but for priestly judgement, with eyes like a flame of fire, and feet like brass glowing in a furnace: His countenance as the sun shining in its strength, and proceeding out of His mouth a sharp two-edged sword: nothing can escape His judgement. John, who, when Christ was on earth had leaned on His bosom, seeing Him now in so different an aspect, fell at His feet as dead. The Lord reassures him, telling him that He has the keys of Hades and of death. Christ has seven stars in His right hand, and the stars are the angels of the seven churches, that is, representative, as if the spirit of each church were personified.
Revelation 2 and Revelation 3 contain the addresses to the seven churches: the number seven is symbolical of completeness, and we may thus assume that these churches represented the whole; and, while actually existing at the time, are selected as showing the various features which become successively apparent in the church to the end: the end being made manifest by the presentation of the coming of the Lord to the last four churches. These seven addresses may be described as God's view of the church in its various phases given prophetically.
In the varied conditions of the churches those who have ears are specially addressed, and overcomers are encouraged. An overcomer is one who has faith to surmount the special danger that exists in his day. To each address there are three parts:
1. The presentation of the Lord, which is different in each.
2. His judgement of the state of each assembly.
3. The promise to the overcomers.
1. EPHESUS. From the various mention of this church in the Acts and the Epistles, it is evident that its decline was gradual: cf. Acts 20:29,30 ; 1 Corinthians 15:32 ; 1 Timothy 1:3 ; 2 Timothy 1:15 . The mark discerned by Christ was that it had left its first love. The loss of the true spring and power of devotedness and service characterises the first declension in the church: no one may have observed it but the Lord, yet it is spoken of as a fall , and repentance is called for, or its candlestick would be removed from its place. Historically it represents the church after the departure of the wise master-builder.
2. SMYRNA. Nothing is said here in the way of disapproval; the church is in a time of persecution, and is encouraged by Christ in the midst of it. Persecution may be used to make manifest what is real, and to draw the soul nearer to the Lord. The saints are exhorted to be faithful unto death, and Christ would give them the crown of life. Historically this church represents the period of persecution that set in under Nero. The 'ten days' of Revelation 2:10 may represent ten different persecutions, or refer to ten years' duration of persecution under Diocletian. In any case it gives the idea of limitation.
3. PERGAMOS. We have here very distinct indications of the toleration of evil — first in the allowing those that held the teaching of Balaam, which led to corrupt commerce with the world, and then that there were also those that held the doctrine of the Nicolaitanes, hateful to Christ. Historically this church probably represents the period when Christianity was adopted by the world power ("where Satan's seat is"), which led to thousands becoming nominally Christians, and to the incorporation of heathen elements and institutions into the professing church. Satan had altered his tactics, and the dangers were peculiar, but the Lord looked for overcomers.
4. THYATIRA. The evil allowed in this church was systematic and controlling, as indicated by the name of the woman, Jezebel, who called herself 'prophetess.' The result was moral fornication and idolatry; and children were begotten of the system. The attitude of the Lord is severe: His "eyes like unto a flame of fire, and his feet like fine brass." A 'rest,' or remnant, in this church is recognised and addressed: and the formula "he that hath an ear to hear" occurs henceforth after the promise to the overcomer, indicating that from this point only those who overcome are expected to havean ear to hear what the Spirit says unto the churches. The kingdom is brought into view in the promise to the overcomer. Historically Thyatira represents that phase of the church's history in which the influence of Rome had become predominant in its tyranny, worldliness, and corruption. It is not difficult to identify Jezebel with the great whore of Revelation 17 and Revelation 18 .
5. SARDIS. One very emphatic sentence gives the character of this church: "Thou hast a name that thou livest, and art dead." It was a name that should carry life, but was in Sardis identified with spiritual death. There had been escape from the corruptions of Rome, but the truth in its purifying power was lost. Yet there were a few who had not defiled their garments. The coming of the Lord 'as a thief' reminds us of the character of His coming to the world as seen in 1 Thessalonians 5:2 . Historically Sardis presents Protestantism, after it had lost spiritual power and become worldly and political.
6. PHILADELPHIA. There is nothing of evil charged to this church. Christ presents Himself as "he that is holy, he that is true," and as having the key of administration; and He says, Thou "hast a little strength and hast kept my word, and hast not denied my name . . . . hast kept the word of my patience." The Lord Himself has with them the prominent place, and the church is kept out of the hour of tribulation which is coming on the whole earth. The historical development of the church may be said to close with Thyatira; and Philadelphia represents in the latter times of the church's history on earth faithfulness to the Lord Himself, on the part of those who are seeking to stand morally in the truth of the church.
7. LAODICEA. This church is characterised, not by any definite evil either of doctrine or practice, but by pride of acquirement and by self-sufficiency, accompanied with indifference to Christ. While boasting itself in being rich and in need of nothing, it was wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked. Man in his self-satisfaction is the main feature, and Christ is not appreciated. It represents the arrogance of rationalism and higher criticism in the latter days of the church on earth: Christ is outside but still appealing, knocking for admission to the individual heart.
Revelation 4 . A different section of the book commences here: namely, "the things that shall be after these," events that will occur after the church has ceased to occupy a place on earth as in Revelation 2 and Revelation 3 . The 'rapture' of the saints has evidently taken place between Revelation 3 and Revelation 4 , for henceforth they are seen in heaven. The apostle is in the Spirit, and the scene is in heaven. John saw a throne that is in relation to the earth; and One sitting on the throne like a jasper and a sardine stone: it is God, but so presented as that He could be looked upon. And on 'thrones' (not 'seats') sat twenty-four elders, the perfect number of the redeemed, sitting, as kingly priests, with crowns on their heads. In the midst of the throne were four living creatures, symbolical of power, firmness, intelligence, and rapidity of execution of God's government, when the throne is once taken: cf. Ezekiel 1 . These celebrate Jehovah Elohim Shaddai thrice holy, and the elders worship their Lord and their God as Creator of all things.
Revelation 5 brings in another element, namely, the sealed book in the right hand of Him that sat on the throne. John, in answer to his weeping, is told that the Lion of the tribe of Judah has overcome to open the book of the counsels of God as to the earth. And when he looked he saw a Lamb as it had been slain, who has the seven spirits of God, and He takes the book. The four living creatures and the elders fall down, and the new song of redemption is sung. The angels declare the worthiness of the Lamb, without mentioning redemption. Then every creature in all the universe speaks out the worthiness of Him that sits upon the throne and of the Lamb for ever and ever.
Revelation 6 The 'book' spoken of in Revelation 5 had seven seals, which are opened consecutively. It is a book of God's judgements, but revealed in symbols. Six of the seals are opened, but before the opening of the seventh seal a parenthetical chapter ( Revelation 7 ) intervenes. It is noticeable that in the first six seals no allusion is made to angels. What are prominent are horses and their riders, which come forth successively at the call of the four living creatures. The horses may represent powers or forces on earth, and the riders, those who control or turn them to account.
First seal. A white horse and its rider with a bow, to whom a crown is given — imperial conquest.
Second seal. A red horse and its rider, who takes peace from the earth, and they shall kill one another — the scourge of civil war.
Third seal. A black horse and its rider with a balance — famine in the necessaries of life with its devastations, but a restraining 'voice' in the midst of it.
Fourth seal. A pale horse and its rider, who kills with God's sore plagues those on a fourth part of the earth: this may be a continent.
Fifth seal. Under the altar are seen the souls of the martyrs (especially those slain during the first half of Daniel's seventieth week: cf. Matthew 24:9 ).
Sixth seal. In the first four seals we have seen forces at work, but controlled; now there is a great earthquake, and the sun, moon, and stars are affected, indicating probably the apostasy, and the break up of the civil governments ordained of God. There is general dismay, and the call for death, in the fear that the great day of the wrath of the Lamb has come; but these are but preliminary judgements.
Revelation 7 . This is parenthetic, describing the sealing of a perfect number of the twelve tribes — the spared ones of Israel; they are sealed for preservation: cf. Romans 11:26 . A great multitude out of all nations also stand before the throne, and ascribe salvation to God and to the Lamb. John is told that they have come out of the great tribulation (not, however, the same as Jacob's trouble,' Jeremiah 30:7 ). They are evidently souls converted after the present dispensation of the church, and may not ever have known Christianity.
Revelation 8 . The seventh seal introduces the seven trumpets, which have in them something of the nature of a final summons. The prayers of the saints, presented by an angel distinct from those having the seven trumpets, while fragrant before God, bring, as their consequence, judgements on the earth.
First trumpet. Human prosperity in the third part of the Roman empire is burnt up.
Second trumpet. A great mountain burning with fire is cast into the sea — some great earthly power influences the masses with direful effect, and commercial intercourse is affected: cf. Jeremiah 51:25 ; it may correspond to the fall of Babylon in Revelation 17 , Revelation 18 .
Third trumpet. A great star falls — some great power from above — and corrupts the moral sources.
Fourth trumpet. The governmental powers are disorganised and in darkness. A great eagle (as is now read by the editors, instead of 'angel'), cries, "Woe, woe, woe" on those who make the earth their home. The scene of the judgements of this chapter is the West.
Revelation 9 . The Fifth trumpet. A star — one in power — falls from heaven: moral darkness and Satanic influence follow. There is feigned righteousness, but the actors are cruel, deceptive, and bitter. This judgement is directed against the Israelites that have not the seal of God.
Sixth trumpet. Forms of wickedness, led by Satan, hitherto held in check in the East, are let loose. The third part of men are killed by plagues. What is referred to is probably moral death. And those that are not killed do not repent of their deeds. The mention of the Euphrates shows that the judgements of this chapter arise from the East.
Revelation 10 to end of Revelation 11:13 , is a parenthesis, before the seventh trumpet.A mighty angel, probably Christ from the description, plants his feet upon (that is, claims) the sea and earth, and cries with a great voice to which the thunders respond. He has an open book, evidently bringing us to known prophetic ground, and declares that "There shall be no longer delay" (as Revelation 10:6 should read). John eats the book as bidden, and while he finds it sweet to know what God has revealed, it is bitter to reflect on His judgements.
In Revelation 11 John is told to measure the temple and the altar and the worshippers, that is, all that is real. They are now taken account of; but not the court without, that is, Jewish profession — the external system. The holy city will be trodden under foot of the nations 42 months, the latter half of Daniel's seventieth week. God's two witnesses prophesy 1,260 days (the same half week). It is now a question of Christ's rights to the earth. The witnesses manifest His power, and smite the earth with plagues. The beast (the Roman power of Revelation 17:8 ) kills the witnesses, and they lie unburied, but they are called up to heaven, and there is in the same hour a great upheaval on earth.
Revelation 11:14-18 . The second woe is past, and the third woe cometh.
The Seventh trumpet. The world-kingdom of Jehovah and His Christ is come. The heavenly company give thanks to the Lord God Almighty who has taken His great power and has reigned. His wrath has come and the time of recompense. The general history of the book ends with Revelation 11:18 . Certain details follow exhibiting the full ground for the final pouring out ofwrath, the judgement of the great whore, and the coming of Christ to make war in righteousness. The time of judging the dead is announced here.
Revelation 12 . Revelation 11:19 commences another division of the book, taking us back in thought to the birth of Christ, from which this development starts. The temple of God was opened in heaven, the ark of His covenant was seen there, and there were judgements on earth. A woman (Israel) is seen as a sign in heaven, and brings forth a man child (Christ), whom Satan seeks at once to devour, but the child is caught up to God and to His throne. The woman flees into the wilderness, and is nourished by God 1,260 days — last half-week of Daniel. There is war in heaven, and the devil is cast out, which causes great exultation in heaven. The devil casts a flood (people) after the woman, but it is swallowed up by the earthly organisations of men. He is angry with the woman and sets himself to make war with the pious remnant of her seed.
Revelation 13 . The Roman empire is now seen as a beast, rising out of the sea, the unorganised mass of the Gentile people. This is the second element in the trinity of evil. It embraces ten kingdoms. One of its heads had been wounded to death; that is, in one epoch of its history it had been slain, but it lived again. The dragon gives to the beast his power and throne and great authority, and it continues 42 months — the last half of Daniel's seventieth week. It blasphemes God, and the dwellers on earth worship it. In Revelation 13:11 another beast is seen to arise out of the earth (formed organisation): it appears as a lamb, but speaks as a dragon. It deceives all the earth and assists the Roman power, working miracles in order that the image of the revived beast may be worshipped: cf. 2 Thessalonians 2:3-10 . This is the man of sin, the Antichrist. The number of the Roman beast is 666, the significance of which will be understood in that day. We have thus the trinity of evil arrayed against God and His Christ.
Revelation 14 . This gives a view of what God is doing during the above evil transactions. The Lamb is seen on mount Zion, and with Him a hundred and forty-four thousand, who learn the heavenly song. There is then a succession of angels, one of whom flies in mid heaven, having the everlasting gospel for all nations, crying, "Fear God, and give glory to him:" for the hour of judgement has come. Another announces the fall of Babylon. A third warns against worshipping the beast or receiving his mark. A voice from heaven announces a blessing on the dead from that time, which is confirmed by the Spirit. One then, like the Son of man, on a cloud, reaps the earth, the harvest of which is ripe. The vintage of the earth is gathered by another angel, and the winepress trodden, blood coming from it reaching to sixteen hundred furlongs, the extent of Palestine.
Revelation 15 , Revelation 16 . These form another division of the book. Revelation 15 shows the blessedness of those victorious over the beast and his image and number, and recounts their song. It presents also the coming out of the seven angels from the temple of the tabernacle of the testimony, having the seven vials, or bowls, of the wrath of God. In Revelation 16 they are bidden to go forth and pour out the vials. This is evidently different from all that has gone before.
The first vial brings grievous miseries.
Second vial. Moral death is upon the sea — the people.
Third vial. This is poured out upon the rivers and fountains — channels and sources of influence and action.
Fourth vial. Poured upon the sun — supreme authority.
Fifth vial. Poured upon the throne of the beast, his kingdom becomes chaos.
Sixth vial. Poured upon the great river Euphrates, opening up the way for the eastern hordes. A trinity of evil spirits goes forth to gather the kings of the earth to the battle of the great day of Almighty God at Harmagedon — mount of Megiddo: cf. Judges 5 .
Seventh vial. This is poured on the air. There is an unprecedented break up of communities, and fall of imperial centres; and great Babylon is remembered before God for wrath. Direct final judgements fall from God out of heaven, but produce only blasphemy on the part of men.
Revelation 17 , Revelation 18 . A vision concerning the great harlot, which may be identified with Jezebel (in the address to Thyatira) and from the description given, may be recognised as the Romish Papal system, is brought under the notice of John by one of the angels of the seven last plagues. The woman is seen riding the beast (the revived Empire), but she is drunk with the blood of saints and martyrs of Jesus. In Revelation 17:8 the beast is described, after its period of non-existence, as reappearing in Satanic power. Seven kings, heads or forms of government, are spoken of, of which five were fallen, one existed, and one was still to come, remaining but a little while. The beast, the final form, is the eighth, but morally of the seven, and goes into destruction. See ROMAN EMPIRE. They make war with the Lamb, but He is Lord of lords and King of kings, and overcomes them. The use to which God turns the power of the last form of the Roman Empire is the destruction of the harlot. Revelation 18 gives the lamentations of various classes and orders over the fall of the great and splendid city, under the form of which the harlot is portrayed.
Revelation 19 . There is joy in heaven because the judgement of the harlot is accomplished. Its day being over, the marriage of the Lamb is come and His wife is ready. In Revelation 19:11 to Revelation 20:3 is presented a vision of the Lord coming forth in warrior judgements He is seated on a white horse, and His saints follow with Him. He comes to smite the nations. He is manifested as King of kings and Lord of lords. The Roman beast and the Antichrist are cast alive into the lake of fire.
Revelation 20 . Satan is cast into the abyss (not into the lake of fire yet) for a thousand years. Thrones and judgement committed to those sitting on them and the 'souls' of those martyred (cf. Revelation 6:9-11 ), and of those killed during the time of the beast (cf. Revelation 13:7,15-17 ), are seen. Such are raised to life, and reign with Christ a thousand years. (See MILLENNIUM.) This is the first resurrection; but the rest of the dead — the wicked — are not raised until the thousand years are expired. After this, Satan is loosed for a little season and deceives the nations: they come up and compass the camp of the saints, but fire comes down and devours them. Satan is cast into the lake of fire. The dead stand before the great white throne to be judged according to their works. (See JUDGEMENT, SESSIONAL.) Death and Hades are cast into the lake of fire. "Whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire."
Revelation 21 . Revelation 1-8 speak of the eternal state, when there will be a new heaven and a new earth. The holy city, new Jerusalem, comes down from heaven as a bride adorned for her husband. The title 'the Lamb,' and all dispensational names have disappeared: God is all in all. In Revelation 21:9 the narrative returns to furnish certain details connected with the kingdom. The bride is shown to John (as had been the harlot) by one of the angels that had the seven last plagues, in the glories that distinguish her as the seat of heavenly light and rule. The holy city comes down out of heaven from God. Her security is in her high wall and gates. On the gates are the names of the twelve tribes of Israel: cf. Matthew 19:28 . The work of the twelve apostles is recognised by their names in the foundation: cf. Ephesians 2:20 . The city is resplendent with divine glory, and answers every requirement of righteousness. Its glory is reflected, as shown by the reference to precious stones. The Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple: the glory of God lightens the city, and the Lamb is the light-bearer. No evil can enter there: only those written in the Lamb's book of life. The throne of God and the Lamb is there, from which issues a river of life.
Revelation 22 . In Revelation 22:1-5 the tree of life is seen in the city yielding its fruits and its leaves for the healing of the nations. The servants of the Lamb enjoy His presence, and reign for ever and ever.
Revelation 22:6-21 are a conclusion to the book. The angel declares the truth of the prophecies. Jesus adds, "Behold, I come quickly: blessed is he that keepeth the sayings of the prophecy of this book." The sayings were not to be sealed, for the time was near: cf. Daniel 12:4,9 . When the testimony is closed, man's state is unalterable. Christ is coming with His rewards, to render to every one as his work shall be. He is the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end — Jehovah. Those who have washed their robes, eat of the tree of life, and have right to enter by the gates into the city: the defiled and idolaters are outside.
The Lord closes the book, saying simply "I Jesus," speaking personally rather than officially. The Spirit and the bride on their part say, "Come;" and he that heareth is invited also to say, Come; and there is then an appeal to him that is athirst and to whosoever will to take the water of life freely. A solemn warning is given as to maintaining the prophecy in its integrity and completeness. The last words of the Lord Himself are "Surely I come quickly." To which John responds, "Amen, come, Lord Jesus." The closing salutation is "The grace of the Lord Jesus be with the saints."

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Life of Tre Believer: Interesting - I heard a gentleman assert that he could walk almost any number of miles when the scenery was good; but, he added, 'When it is flat and uninteresting, how one tires!' What scenery enchants the Christian pilgrim; the towering mountains of predestination, the great sea of providence, the rocks of sure promise, the green fields of Revelation, the river that makes glad the city of God, all these compose the scenery which surrounds the Christian, and at every step fresh sublimities meet his view
Names of the Bible - Our Lord used the name Scriptures (Latin: scribere, to write), in Matthew 22, because it is the written record of that Revelation, the Written Word, or Holy Writ
Bible, Names of the - Our Lord used the name Scriptures (Latin: scribere, to write), in Matthew 22, because it is the written record of that Revelation, the Written Word, or Holy Writ
Trumpets - ...
In the judgements that are to fall upon the earth, as foretold in the Revelation, the Seven Seals introduce the Seven Trumpets: the first four fall upon the Roman earth, and refer to the state and circumstances of men; the latter three trumpets refer to the East, and fall upon the persons themselves
Bride - In Revelation, the church, as the bride of the Lamb, has prepared herself for marriage by performing righteous deeds (John 19:7-8 )
Lamb - ...
In the visions of the book of Revelation, the Lamb again symbolizes Jesus Christ
Development of Doctrine - ...
(1) While substantially contained in primitive Revelation, the deposit of faith grew from the time of Adam until that of Christ and the Apostles
Doctrine, Development of - ...
(1) While substantially contained in primitive Revelation, the deposit of faith grew from the time of Adam until that of Christ and the Apostles
Banquet - Also in the Book of Revelation, the final victory day is described in terms of a “marriage supper of the Lamb” of God (Revelation 19:9 )
Allegory - Let the reader learn from it this most blessed truth, that the Lord hath been preaching all along, and from the first dawn of Revelation, the covenant of redemption by his dear Son
Heavens, New - ...
In Revelation, the nature of the new heaven and earth stands in marked contrast to the old heaven and earth
Lamb - "...
Revelation 5:6 (a) Throughout the book of Revelation, the Lord JESUS is presented under the type of "a lamb as it had been slain
Antichrist - In Revelation, the Roman Caesar is the evil force
Solomon's Song - Its majestic style, its power on men's conscience to promote holiness and purity the harmony of its language with that of Christ's parables and the books of Revelation, the sincerity of the bride in acknowledging her faults, and its general reception by the Jewish and Christian church, sufficiently prove it inspired of God
Fundamental Theology - What means God may use thus to speak to man, what utility there is in the communication, how man is to judge between genuine and spurious Revelation, these are questions that next demand satisfactory answers. The purpose of the demonstratio Catholica is to prove that Christ founded a Church to be the depositary and interpreter of Divine Revelation, the dispenser of the means of salvation, the ruler of man's conduct
Theology, Fundamental - What means God may use thus to speak to man, what utility there is in the communication, how man is to judge between genuine and spurious Revelation, these are questions that next demand satisfactory answers. The purpose of the demonstratio Catholica is to prove that Christ founded a Church to be the depositary and interpreter of Divine Revelation, the dispenser of the means of salvation, the ruler of man's conduct
Learning - The useful expositions of the Scriptures, the sober and sensible defences of Revelation, the faithful representations of pure and undefiled Christianity; these have been the works of learned, judicious, and industrious men
Church - And as was predicted in the second and third chapters of Revelation, the candlestick of nearly every one of them has been removed
Baltimore, Maryland, City of - The Second Plenary Council (1866) declared the Catholic doctrine on Divine Revelation, the one Church of Christ, nature and necessity of faith, the Holy Scripture, the Holy Trinity, the future life, and veneration of the Blessed Virgin and the saints; adopted regulations on the hierarchy and government of the Church, ecclesiastical persons, ecclesiastical property, the sacraments, Divine worship, uniformity of discipline, and education of youth
Holy Spirit - The instruments of God’s ‘preferential action’ Israel, and those who guided its destiny became the channel of Revelation, the ‘mouth’ ( Exodus 4:16 ) through which the message was delivered
Apocalyptic - ...
Stephen Motyer...
See also Revelation, theology of ...
Revelation of God - Nevertheless, because each person has been given the capacity for receiving God's general Revelation, they are responsible for their actions
Ignorance - As they arose from evil in men, they were not left unpunished by God (Romans 1:28); but, as they were done in ignorance of the full Revelation, they were ‘winked at’ or ‘overlooked’ by God (Acts 17:30), or in the forbearance of God were passed over (Romans 3:25)
Antichrist - Gregory the Great, in the sixth century, applied the prophecies concerning the beast in the Revelation, the man of sin, and the apostasy from the faith mentioned by St
Apostolic Fathers - Using the form of an apocalypse or Revelation, the Shepherd of Hermas deals with the heatedly debated question of repentance for serious post-baptismal sins such as apostasy, adultery, or murder
Testimony - ...
Concerning Old Testament general Revelation, the psalmist praises the created order for revealing and bearing witness to God's glory and supremacy (Psalm 8:1-4 ; 19:1-6 ; 29 see Job 36:24-33 ; 37:1-13 )
Thankfulness, Thanksgiving - In the worship scenes of Revelation, the heavenly hosts give thanks to God for creating all things (4:9-11) as well as redeeming multitudes of humanity (5:9-14)
Interpretation - ...
Accepting the Bible’s authority...
Even when readers allow for variations because of the progressive nature of biblical Revelation, they will still meet cases where different statements or ideas appear hard to reconcile (cf
Moses - In Revelation, the victorious saints chant the song of Moses (1618481847_7 )
Mystery - Paul it is fundamental (1618481847_90 Ephesians 1:9; Ephesians 3:3-11, Colossians 1:27, Romans 16:25-27), usually involving the contrast of philosophy versus Revelation, the ‘wisdom of this world’ versus the spirit of prophecy
Bible, Authority of the - While serving as chief illustration and paradigm of Revelation, the direct speech of the Creator-Redeemer resonates throughout the Scriptures and imparts its own stamp of authority to those books in which it is found
John, the Gospel According to - The Gospel cannot have been written at the same time and place as Revelation, the styles are so different, His mode of counting the hours as we do was Asiatic (see Townson, Harmony, 8:1, section 3), and accords with Ephesus being the place of writing
Egypt - Among nations who are not blessed by divine Revelation, the luminaries of heaven are the first objects of worship
Gnosticism - To fill up the blanks of the Christian Revelation, they adopted heathen (mainly Greek) speculations
Apocalypse - -Though in the sense of the Christian creed the whole Bible is by pre-eminence the literature of apocalypse or Revelation, there is only one book in each Testament to which the name has been given
Joseph - The Egyptian religion, though blended with superstitions, retained then much of the primitive Revelation, the unity, eternity, and self existence of the unseen God
Revelation (2) - The thesis is simply this: that whatever difficulties are found in believing that men could appreciate a Revelation, there is no difficulty in believing that God could give them one, if He be indeed alive
Law - It was not the fulfilment of one who rehearses a prescribed lesson or tracks out a path marked for him by predecessors, but the crowning of an edifice already founded, the carrying forward to their issue of the lines projected in Israelite Revelation, the fulfilment of the blade and ear in ‘the full corn
Basilides, Gnostic Sect Founder - "Because therefore it was needful that we the children of God should be revealed, concerning whom the creation groaned and travailed, expecting the Revelation, the Gospel came into the world, and passed through every principality and power and lordship, and every name that is named